As we all know, we come in all different shapes and sizes; we range from tall, medium and short to some with curvier hips and bigger breasts and others with rounder stomachs broader shoulders and smaller breasts and everything in between. We are all curvy in our own way and all PLUS according to the fashion industry if we are over a size 12, I believe, but then again the fashion industry has it twisted.
I was always tall but not always plus sized. I learned early on that there was a HUGE problem with the fashion industry and bigger size availability as I used to become so stressed out shopping as a teen because I was taller than most girls at the time. Nothing was long enough for me leg-wise so I often opted to dress like AAliyah and Left-Eye to try to keep it sassy and feminine but it was still very tomboyish. I would buy men’s baggy jeans with a 34” inseam and hang my pants low and wear a fitted top just so my jeans would be long enough. I used to wish they had a BIG & TALL for women, real rap. If I bought a dress in the “regular” department it would be so short that I would be insecure wearing it and if I got it from the plus department it would be the most horrible pattern you could find and too huge with no shape or style, believe it or not I actually remember them having a cow pattern at the store I was shopping at. So because I was shopping in the plus section, I had to wear a cow pattern!? So because I was shopping in the plus sized section, I couldn’t have anything cute that fit right?
I remembered feeling awful about the lack of options for bigger girls like me as a teen and it became even worse as I got older and developed a little more. But if someone were to look at my “skinny” teen pics they would say bye girl you were not plus sized, but according to fashion standards, I was.
So what is plus?
Plus to me is the category of clothes you have to shop in to get your size and it is usually larger than the clothes you find throughout the store and unfortunately found all the way in the back of stores with limited selections. When I shop in the plus-sized sections, depending on the store, I see sizes 12 and up. I started shopping the plus section believe it or not at size 9/10 but that was mainly because I was a tall teen and the “regular” sizes didn’t accommodate my height and size but I have also been a 12,14, 16, 18 & size 24 and remembered feeling like my height was also not accommodated for at a larger size. I say all this because while shopping at various sizes I realized that the smaller, curvier woman shopping beside me was plus sized too in her own way for her own body and sometimes she complained about things being too long in the dressing room while for me they were too short.
I see a variety of beautiful women both tall and short, busty and not busty, hippy and not hippy and I think it is a shame that now that we have so many options available to us clothing wise we spend more time saying, “Oh she not even plus-sized” if she doesn’t have a certain amount of curves or if she is taller or whatever the case may be. Sizes look different depending on heights and shapes. True , I agree there should be more diversity when it comes to plus models because we all want to be able to see a woman that we can relate to when shopping, but this also holds the same for straight sized models and I don’t hear any of them making it an issue where there is such a divide. We are all different and all beautiful! We are PLUS when we are bigger than our straight sized sisters and have to shop in the PLUS department or in plus sized stores. We can relate to each other because we know the “struggle” in finding what we want in our size or being prejudged for whatever reason.
I think the category first and foremost came to help us know what section to find clothing at in department stores but now being a plus sized woman is almost a statement of confidence! We have learned to show the world we won’t be limited by society’s limited fashion views for our bodies. We know we are beautiful and more than what society says we are; we are fearfully and wonderfully made. It is definitely time to unite more and #bridgetheplussizegap. I think what is important is to continue coming together to make a change and bring about unity with women of all sizes. It is not the size of the woman that makes her anyways, or is it?
Editor’s Note: This post is in response to the question, “What Is Plus?” The question was asked in the January 2014 issue of Plus Model Magazine.